After last night’s public meeting with FDOT concerning the Sunset Drive Project, I wrote the following email to Mr. Gus Pego, Secretary of Florida’s Department of Transportation District 6.
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Dear Mr. Pego:
As a lifelong Floridian and active citizen, I am concerned that FDOT is going against state policies (335.065, copied below), common sense safety practices and the direction from USDOT Secretary Ray LaHood by refusing resident requests that bike lanes be incorporated into the Sunset Drive project.
As recommended by the resolution of the Miami-Dade MPO’s Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee and by so many of the local residents at last night’s public meeting, I am requesting that the median be narrowed by 1 foot on each side and bicycle lanes included. Wide lanes, as you know, encourage speeding by motorists, while narrowing lanes and adding bike lanes reduce motorist speeds and increase safety for all road users.
Wide curb lanes can be ideal in some cases, however, where the speed differential is as extreme as it is on Sunset Drive between SW 84 Place and SW 69 Avenue, bicycle lanes make the most sense. They are also a significant source of money from Washington.
Sec. LaHood recently stated on video that “People across America who value bicycling should have a voice when it comes to transportation planning. This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.” (http://fastlane.dot.gov/2010/03/my-view-from-atop-the-table-at-the-national-bike-summit.html) He goes on to say that DOT’s commitment to bicycling facilities is evidenced by the number of TIGER grants that went to bicycle projects across this country. Could this be a reason why the state of Florida did not receive any of these funds? More money will be coming from Washington – let’s pave (and stripe!) the way to these dollars in FDOT District 6.
More formally, Sec. LaHood announced the following Department of Transportation Policy, available for your reference here: http://www.dot.gov/affairs/2010/bicycle-ped.html: “The DOT policy is to incorporate safe and convenient walking and bicycling facilities into transportation projects. Every transportation agency, including DOT, has the responsibility to improve conditions and opportunities for walking and bicycling and to integrate walking and bicycling into their transportation systems. Because of the numerous individual and community benefits that walking and bicycling provide — including health, safety, environmental, transportation, and quality of life —transportation agencies are encouraged to go beyond minimum standards to provide safe and convenient facilities for these modes.”
But again, bicycle lanes make the road safer for EVERYONE. They discourage cyclists from using the sidewalk (reducing cyclist/pedestrian conflicts) and they even reduce motorist collisions. Please see the 2006 UT-Austin study demonstrating increased safety for motorists where bicycle lanes are present: http://www.utexas.edu/news/2006/09/18/engineering/
I’d like to close by stating that Marjory Stoneman Douglas was an icon for me growing up. I met her as a child and she was committing to promoting sustainable living even in her final years. Given that this road is named in her honor, I am all the more convinced that bicycle lanes make sense.
In short, bicycle lanes are safer, their implementation makes for successful and sustainable policy and in the case of Sunset Drive, they just make sense.
Thank you for considering all users as you move to finalize design for this project. I look forward to your reply.
Kathryn Reid Moore
South Florida Bike Coalition
http://SFBikeCoalition.wordpress.com [Anyone think he’ll read my blog?]
*335.065 Bicycle and pedestrian ways along state roads and transportation facilities.
(1)(a) Bicycle and pedestrian ways shall be given full consideration in the planning and development of transportation facilities, including the incorporation of such ways into state, regional, and local transportation plans and programs. Bicycle and pedestrian ways shall be established in conjunction with the construction, reconstruction, or other change of any state transportation facility, and special emphasis shall be given to projects in or within 1 mile of an urban area.
(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (a), bicycle and pedestrian ways are not required to be established:
1. Where their establishment would be contrary to public safety;
2. When the cost would be excessively disproportionate to the need or probable use;
3. Where other available means or factors indicate an absence of need.
(2) The department shall establish construction standards and a uniform system of signing for bicycle and pedestrian ways.
(3) The department, in cooperation with the Department of Environmental Protection, shall establish a statewide integrated system of bicycle and pedestrian ways in such a manner as to take full advantage of any such ways which are maintained by any governmental entity. For the purposes of this section, bicycle facilities may be established as part of or separate from the actual roadway and may utilize existing road rights-of-way or other rights-of-way or easements acquired for public use.
What do you think? Won’t you join me in writing to him, as well? I promise you, just a few short lines is all that is needed but I couldn’t help myself.